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Guadalupe Hidalgo Paper - Essay Example

The history of Our Lady of Guadalupe is both simple and complicated. According to official hagiography, a certain Juan Diego, an Indian peasant from Cuauhtitlan near Mexico, saw a Marian apparition on the Hill of Tepeyac, on December, 9, 1531. As the Feast of the Immaculate Conception was celebrated across Spanish holdings on that day, the vision of Virgin Mary was considered to be especially symbolic and powerful. Juan Diego was told by the Virgin, who manifested as a young girl, that she wished that a church be built and consecrated in Her honor on the Hill. When Juan approached the Archbishop of Mexico, the latter requested that he present to the Church the evidence of the Divine character of his vision. Juan Diego found the Castilian roses on the Hill of Tepeyac, putting them into his cloak. When he opened the cloak to the Archbishop, the visage of Virgin Mary was imprinted on it. Hence, the cult of Our Lady of Guadalupe was born – or, at least, so it is told in the orthodox legend. The exact origins of the cult of Our Lady of Guadalupe seem to be rather more complicated. The Hill of Tepeyak used to be the holy place of an Aztec mother-goddess, Tonantzin, housing her temple until the latter was destroyed by the Spaniards. Nevertheless, the Spanish conquerors decided to utilize the temple’s place for the needs of their own religion, and the shrine to Virgin Mary was soon consecrated there. The local Indians, who were forcibly converted by the Catholic Church, took advantage of this decision

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to preserve some of their religious traditions, as they came to pray at the temple, addressing Virgin Mary as ‘Tonantzin’ in their own language, the Nahuatl1. This greatly irritated the local Franciscan missionaries, who tried to extinguish any remaining traces of the Indian polytheistic religion, by preaching that the true God does not need adoration of images made in earthly materials2. Nevertheless, in 1566 it was reported that the Archbishop of Mexico, Alonso de Montufar, held a sermon, in which he called upon all the faithful to pay homage to the supposedly miraculous painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which was found in the chapel at the Hill of Tepeyac. The painting was made on the inner side of the tilpa, a peasant cloak allegedly worn by Juan Diego. The Franciscans tried to complain to the Viceroy of Mexico that the Archbishop unduly encouraged quasi-pagan superstition among the native converts; however, eventually, the matter was solved in the Archbishop’s favor, and the Franciscans were deprived of the custody of the chapel. Subsequently, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe started being publicly venerated at the shrine. The case of Our Lady of Guadalupe was just one of the forms of introduction of the cult of images into the New World, which was carried out by the mainly Dominican missionaries. Unlike the Franciscans, who strove to return to the primitive purity of early Christianity, the Dominicans, such as Alonso de Montufar, believed that the Church would be better served by the emulation of the West European pilgrimage cults that were closely connected with the respective saints3. As such cults were especially well developed in Spain, it is no great wonder that the Spanish conquerors transplanted them into the American soil. The cult of Our Lady of Guadalupe experienced a new flowering in the late 17th century, when the image was elevated to the status of the copy of the image of Virgin Mary seen and described by John the


Our Lady of Guadalupe Cult and Hidalgo’s Mission [Subject’s Name] July 16, 2012 The introduction of Roman Catholicism to Mexico led to the complex interplay between local belief system and the new Christian orthodoxy…
Author : nestor82
Guadalupe Hidalgo Paper essay example
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